Empire State Manufacturing Survey Points to Growth

Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in January at the fastest pace in nine months, reflecting improving orders, sales and employment.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index rose to 13.5, the highest level since April, from a revised 8.2 in December.
On a series of supplementary survey questions, 51 percent of respondents indicated that they expect their workforces to increase over the next six to twelve months, while just 9 percent predicted declines in the total number of workers—results noticeably more positive than in the June 2011 survey. The current results were slightly more positive for larger establishments (150 or more employees) than for smaller ones. High expected sales growth was widely deemed to be the most important factor among those who planned to add workers. When asked about anticipated changes in wages per worker, 80 percent of respondents indicated that wages would increase by less than 5 percent and almost all of the remaining 20 percent said wages would stay about the same. When asked about changes in benefits per worker, however, a sizable proportion, 37 percent, estimated that increases would exceed 5 percent.